Review of Balenciaga Spring 2022 Ad Campaign by Photographer Andrea Artemisio, Artist Ikeuchi Hiroto, Robotics Manufacturer Skeletonics, and Director Yilmaz Sen
Balenciaga continues its dive down the virtual rabbit hole with a technically and conceptually stunning new campaign. The house’s Spring 2022 campaign features film direction by Yilmaz Sen and photography by Andrea Artemisio.
In Sen’s brilliant film, a single, continuous, side-scrolling shot guides us through a series of simple rooms. While the layout of the rooms remains the same, the backdrop of location that we see through their windows shifts dramatically – from dense forests, to cityscapes, and even to the surface of the moon. As Blenciaga’s eclectic and stylishly composed characters move through these rooms, a sense of the virtual, uncanny, and limitless arises: reality and location are called into question as they change their environments and outfit at will, perhaps even becoming different people.
The editing team does thoroughly impressive work in stitching the different digital environments seamlessly together, helping to push the sense of being unable to recognize the difference between the virtual and the real – perhaps there is no difference? The music choice of a simple piano rendition of Beethoven’s Fur Elise provides an intriguing historical and humanist contrast to the the imagery’s sense of the uncanny and futuristic.
Artemisio’s deceptively simple photographic portraits develop this feeling through a collaboration with artist Ikeuchi Hiroto and robotics manufacturer Skeletonics. Looks from the collection (including pieces from Balenciaga’s “hacked” crossover with Gucci) are combined with intricate robotic headwear and exoskeletons.
After the pandemic, the role of mask in fashion feels more relevant than ever, and these mechanical masks are an awesome way to consider this present reality and how it might look in the future. In addition to looking incredibly cool, the imagery makes for a fascinating rumination on the intersection of identity, technology, and humanity. Does the proliferation of technology and virtual worlds obscure our humanity, or unlock it?
Balenciaga continues to thrill and chill us with their subversive exploration of these increasingly relevant questions and aesthetics, and – especially in this campaign – executes them with impeccable style.
Balenciaga Creative Director | Demna Gvasalia Photographer | Andrea Artemisio Exoskeletons | Ikeuchi Hiroto and Skeletonics Video | Yilmaz Sen Music | Fur Elise by Beethoven performed by Lincoln Mayorga
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